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How Not To Trim A Door

Whenever you see faux stone, pay very, very close attention.

There are serious do-s and don't-s!

Faux stone almost always abuts a different material.  In this case it is wood brick mold door framing. 

Two disparate materials will expand and contract at different rates.  They absorb moisture differently.  They heat and cool differently.  And they react to all of that differently!  That's because they are DISPARATE!

This is new construction and one of many pictures I took of a basement door and its framing.  It is in a stairwell, and will never get direct sunlight.  It will always be cooler and wetter than the surrounds.

That is a recipe for long-term disaster.

This brick mold was not primed.  How do I know?  Because I could look beside that small crack on the left and see bare wood.  MORTAR IS NOT WATERPROOF!  This wood will rot quickly!

What is a proper way to trim this door.  With flashing!  On top of the framing and on the sides.  Water needs about one billionth of an inch to get in.  And it will get into this installation and rot not only the door framing, but wick into the other wood inside. 

Smooshing (and in this case poorly smooshing) mortar around unpainted and unprimed and unflashed wood is not a professional installation.  This "mason" had no idea what he was doing.

Remember the first EIFS stucco?  Exterior Insulation Finish Systems, EIFS, did not initially do well because it trapped moisture.  This was learned the hard way, in the school of hard knocks.  The product and its installation techniques had to be changed.  Use an improper technique and rot is the result.  Just like this mortar will do to this house.  Faux stone, improperly installed, is the new EIFS. 

Beware!

My recommendation:  when you see faux stone, look for best practices.  Those include proper installation and drainage, flashings (metal or membrane), and protective separation where disparate materials abut.  Where would you learn all that?

Here is one place:  http://www.culturedstone.com/technical/flashing.aspx

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 13 commentsJay Markanich • August 13 2010 01:54PM

Comments

DISPARATE * sounds like the White House on the whole vacation issue....OH!!! I'm so bad!!!

http://www.culturedstone.com/technical/flashing.aspx

Posted by Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer (Gibson Management Group, Ltd.) about 8 years ago

Wallace - from the Latin word, separare - meaning separate or different.  As far as the White House goes, that works...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 8 years ago

Thanks for the great info & what to look for in the future.

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg IL Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) about 8 years ago

"Observe and report," is what we are supposed to do Lyn.  Glad you liked it!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 8 years ago

Jay,

This is totally hit and miss here, with probably more misses of flashing even on newer houses.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) about 8 years ago

How can it be so common to miss on the flashing Steve?  How long do they really think that mortar will last?  It is already separating!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 8 years ago

The vast majority of installations here too.  I gripe every time.  Simple things those pieces of flashings really.  I guess the masons know that they will be long gone by the time this home's trim needs to be replaced.

Posted by Jim Allhiser, Salem, Oregon Home Inspector (Perfection Inspection, Inc.) about 8 years ago

Who knew? You are a wealth of knowledge which is why inspection is so important!

Posted by Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor (Charles Rutenberg Realty) about 8 years ago

For sure Jim.  It's a shame that more personal pride is not taken in such work...  It is a real bugaboo of mine too.

Barbara-Jo - what bothers me is that this "professional" probably did NOT know!  That is a real problem around here.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 8 years ago

Jay, I never miss one of your blog posts... so much GREAT information.  'Wish I could clone you for the Annapolis area.

Posted by Margaret Woda, Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation (Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.) about 8 years ago

Margaret - thank you for your kind words.  There is a lot of stuff out there to write about!  We love Annapolis and go often.  Eat at Chick and Ruth's and Buddy's.  We love it.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 8 years ago

Hey Jay,

I've been reading through your posts and you've put out quite a bit of informative and helpful info.

I feel I provide one of the most quality inspections services available in my area but there's still quite a bit of info a younger buck like myself can learn from an older fart like yourself, hahaha.

Keep up with the great info!

Posted by Brandon Clark (UTAH INFRARED Home and Building Inspections) about 8 years ago

Brandon - you and I see crap every day!  There is a lot out there to write about.  I see something and an idea comes to mind about a blog.  But I do try to be instructive.  We can all learn!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 8 years ago

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